A Splash of Cold Privately Owned Water
By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2004, 12:08pm PT  

Hope to blog more about it later, but time is somewhat short today. Saw The Corporation last night, another excellent documentary in this --- apparently --- Year of the Documentary!

It's perhaps an overly-long, but overly-fascinating look at the Corporation in today's American/Worldwide Global Marketplace. Their history, from how they were established to be "a person" for all legal intents and purposes, through their modern day presence in every facet of our lives (realistically, legally and emotionally), through their current and future place as a force more powerful even than the Nation States that once regulated them.

The framework for the film, examining The Corporation as the legal entity of "a person" with all the rights thereof, but without any of the moral or ethical considerations or obligations, makes the case that if, in fact, the Corporation were "a person" it could well be considered --- in most cases --- to have the psychopathic tendencies of a serial killer.

Many corporate CEO's are interviewed throughout the film and not all are portrayed as villians. In fact, the argument is well-made that the CEO's are doing largely what we ask of them, and what they are legally bound to do in the wake of an Industrial Revolution that may have been ill-conceived from the start. Or at best, an Industrial Revolution run amok in an unsustainable chase for ever-increasing profits despite the costs to humanity, privacy and/or the limits of the environment. Several (though not all) of the CEO's interviewed are clearly wrestling with their corporate responsibilities versus their conscience as human beings on this planet. The revelations are sometimes encouraging, there are some clear heroes here, though frequently rather troubling.

It's an eye-opener worth seeing for anybody who has lived through the late part of the last century, and early part of the current one. There have been some stunning changes in the way Corporations effect every facet of our lives, especially over the last thirty years or so --- from marketing to parents via their infants, to the commercialization/privatization of Public schools, land, water and precious resources --- and most of it has been so insidiously gradual that it often has gone largely unnoticed by those of us who have accepted the encroachment of the Corporate culture into our every day lives without much notice or regard to the larger implications.

For those of you (like myself) who frequently wonder what all the hub-bub is about every time demonstrations and riots break out at a WTO conference or a meeting of the IMF, this film may provide some very specific answers.

It'll likely send a chill down your spine when you hear how the corporate powerhouses of Rupert Murdoch, Fox and Monsanto colluded to keep you from learning of the cancerous dangers from synthetic bovine hormones in the milk you drink and other machinations that are undoubtedly in the interest of short-term profit-making, if not in your best interests for a long and healthy life.

There are too many notable and fascinating segments to go into much detail for the time being. But I highly recommend you give it a look yourself. The Corporation is playing, or coming to a theater near you this summer. You can view trailers and clips online here.